Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

Two parallel universes from two silver age comic book publishers examined ad naseum!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Team-Up Tuesdays: L.A.W. = Lame Assemblage of Wannabees

The Action-Heroes were distinct among most creations in the silver age of comics in that they never worked together as a team, aside from Captain Atom and Nightshade, Judomaster and Tiger, and one case featuring Blue Beetle and the Question.

Americomics acquired four of these adventurers to form the Sentinel of Justice, this concept quickly fizzled when a bigger boy on the block bought-out this crop of charcters. Then an issue of Justice League Quarterly threw Thunderbolt and Judomaster into the mix.

The latest attempt at resurrecting the Sentinels of Justice was DC Comics' L.A.W. mini-series, by bringing these legends together to battle a common foe. Alas it fell flat in so far as the individual members were treated as weapons instead of protectors, there was no chemistry necessary to endear readers to such a group, and it turned out one of their own was the malevolent mastermind that was the reason for their forming to begin with (shades of Hal Jordan, anyone?)!

Once the deux machina at the end of the mini-series was executed, leading to the exiled Justice League of America returning to Earth to tackle mastermind Avatar's minions, the purpose behind the Living Assault Weapons (a truly regrettable name) quickly eroded. Which is disppointing considering that former Charlton sfaff members Bob Layton and Dick Giordano were the creative forces behind this tale.

Surprisingly, a crew of less well-rounded characters that lacked the characterization were far more appealing to the reader, in the form of Archie's Mighty Crusaders. While possessing internal conflict between its individual members and the loss of teammates, the second volume of Crusaders in the 1980s and even the !mpact series in 1992 treated its cast as noble-minded and their world's premier team, something that sadly L.A.W. could not as they were already marginalized by their owners' more prominent headliners.

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